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Mazzei Minute: 07/05/24

Does the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution have any bearing on free market capitalism and our prospects for growth and prosperity?  Some would say it doesn’t, but I say, “A free market economy isn’t possible without the foundational principles of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, and also the free exercise of religion.”

How could free market capitalism work without freedom of speech to argue about economic policy and to disagree sometimes with the established powers that be?  Freedom of assembly literally allowed for the first gathering of traders which ultimately led to the New York Stock Exchange.

Lately, a debate has developed over the Establishment Clause and the free exercise of religion. The basic foundation of private property rights, which are a must for free market capitalism, emanate from the Judeo-Christian ideas that came from the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.

However, the cultural Marxists who control higher education and most law schools have fooled many into thinking that the First Amendment creates a “wall of separation” between church and state, such that there is to be no religion in the public square or in public schools. The writers of the Constitution would be shocked by that line of thinking.

Their entire intent of the Establishment Clause was to ensure that the government could not choose one religion over all the others as the monarchy had done with the Anglican Church in England.  The Framers nearly all believed that the morality and the truths of Christianity were a critical element in education from first grade through college. They simply wanted to keep the government from compelling American citizens to follow one religion over another or compelling Americans to choose any religion at all.

This critical debate, which affects all of us, is now taking center stage in Oklahoma. Liberals and even some moderate Oklahoma Republicans have embraced the false and incorrect interpretation of the First Amendment and conclude that no public money at all should end up in a voluntary charter school administered by a religious oriented entity like St. Isidore Catholic Church of Oklahoma City.  For now, the uber liberal justices of the Oklahoma Supreme Court agree, and St. Isidore has been blocked from establishing a virtual charter school.

Yet, these liberal Oklahoma justices have ignored or forgotten that the U.S Supreme Court recently ruled in Carson and Espinoza that the state cannot exclude private religious schools from public funds available to others simply because they are religious—that would violate the schools' right to practice their religion. A charter school is a completely voluntary option for parents, in which no one is compelled to attend or choose a religion.

There are many battles to come in this debate.  For the good of our sacred First Amendment rights, which make our growth and prosperity possible, I hope that the ideas of the radical left will eventually give way to the true intent of America’s founders.


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